Monday, July 03, 2006

The Purge Binge

Update: Lieberman is now gathering signatures so that he can run as an independent if he fails to win the party's nomination. He says, "I have loyalties that are greater than those to my party." Well, okay then... I don't take tremendous issue with that. I too have loyalties that are greater than my loyalties to any political party. But, this is something Connecticut Democrats might want to consider when they go voting on August 8th.

Original post on Purging:

As Joe Lieberman falters in his Connecticut primary race against challenger Ned Lamont, the Senator's supporters have been loudly claiming that Lieberman and, by extension, all "moderate" Democrats are being "purged" from the party by a militant left-wing minority. A good example of the argument can be found here.

This constant drumming of the phrase "purge," is obviously meant to carry an evil connotation as if what's going on in Connecticut right now isn't an election so much as a Stalinist attrocity.

But, of course, this is silly. It is an election. Lieberman's in trouble because he's advocated positions (yes, on the war with Iraq but also on judicial nominations, the bankruptcy bill and social security) that have angered his constituents. Now, if you love Lieberman, you say that this is all an example of him being a principled and brave moderate. If you don't like him you say it's an example of him being out of touch with your concerns and so you vote for somebody else.

When you lose an election, you're not purged. You've just lost an election.

Nobody thinks that the voters always get it right. I think people made a mistake by voting for George Bush, especially the second time around. His supporters would look at my voting record and just shake their heads and look on me with pity. On all sides, I think that most of us suspect that the smartest and most capable leaders around aren't even electable. We have winners and losers and sometimes we get great leaders and sometimes we don't. But we have elections and that means that nobody ever gets purged.

If some Democratic party apparatus decided, without consulting the voters, to kick Lieberman out of the party -- that would be a purge. If somebody passed a law making it illegal for him to run for public office, that would be a purge. But if he just loses the election, that's nothing. You can say he should win, you can argue that point all you want and you can try to convince Connecticut Democrats to back him but if he loses, let's not pretend it's some sort of tragedy for the party. It's just an election that he might not win. Hey... it happens.


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